Hebrews 13:1-6 Passage
1. Christians are transformed to love others (v.1)
Story: During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell did not sound. The soldier’s fiancé had climbed into the bell tower and clung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking. When she was summoned by Cromwell to account for her actions, she wept as she showed him her bruised and bleeding hands. Cromwell’s heart was touched and he said, “Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!” – Our Daily Bread
Scripture proof: Prov. 17:17; Lk. 6:35; 1 Cor. 13:13; 1 John 4:8
Application: What are some steps you can take to love more? When you love God, you will love people. Write personal cards. Help your friends move. Take someone out for lunch and pay for it. Share the gospel. Make a positive statement about someone you know.
2. Christians are transformed to be hospitable (v.2).
Story: Last summer, I was in my office and got a call from a man named John. He is a missionary who helps out international students. He said, “Pastor Green told me you have a college ministry.” I said yes we do. John said. Great. Would you be able help me move in a graduate student. He’s from Saudi Arabia. I said, “Of course, I will be right there.” When we got there, I helped them unload the truck. It took us about an hour or so. Then we ate lunch and talked. The Saudi student was very grateful for John. I asked him, how you all know each other? He met with me every week for 2 hours to teach me English. He also helped me move all my stuff here and is driving all the way back to campus, which is about a 10 hour trip. This is the kind of love we ought to show others. In today’s world, it is hard to befriend those who are looked down upon, but John knew he ought to be hospitable to strangers, especially foreigners, right?
Scripture proof: The Bible teaches us in Leviticus 19: “When a stranger or foreigner sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Application: Why is being hospitable to a stranger or foreigner so important? Because we were once alienated from God as Gentiles, but God adopted us into his family. Also, it’s easy to be nice to those who are like you, but with foreigners you have to adapt to their culture and way of thinking. It gives us an opportunity to live a sacrificial life and conform more into the image of Christ.
3. Christians are transformed to sympathize with those who are mistreated or suffering (v.2)
Story: On October June 25, 2014, two pastors were found guilty of utilizing a cult to undermine law enforcement and sent to prison. The pastors Zhao and Cheng, along with 20 other Christians were singing hymns in a rural factory, when the building was raided by police. Both pastors were sentenced to four years imprisonment. God calls us to remember those who are persecuted for their faith and mistreated.
Scripture Proof: Isaiah 1:17; Matthew 25:36; James 1:27
Application: Empathy is a powerful emotion that is vital in the Christian life. We are to carry one another’s burden. How do we do this in a practical way? Call each other during difficult times. Visit and cook a meal. Sing carols at nursing homes. Pray for the persecuted church.
4. Christians are transformed to live a pure and holy life (v.4)
Story: Before I became a Christian, I did not live a very moral life. I had a lot of scars from my past and didn’t want to make the same mistakes again. When I met Olya and we started dating, I made immediate ground rules about our relationship. I would even say I was pretty legalistic, but the main reason was I didn’t want to ruin this great gift God gave to me. So I told her that we would not be found together alone in a private place. We would wait until marriage to kiss, and holding hands was the most physical thing we would do together.
Many of our friends, who were going to the seminary, thought we were extreme in this approach. However, I knew my weakness and made sure to live pure and holy. For me, this topic is a lot like alcohol. Christians say it’s okay to drink in moderation as long as you don’t get drunk. Technically, I would say they are not sinning, but I find it hard to believe they really have any control. Same with physical intimacy. If you are not careful, one small compromise will lead to another. Next thing you know, you have committed fornication. The Bible tells us to flee from sexual immorality for a reason. We flee because it’s nearly impossible to get out once you start. It’s like throwing gas on a fire.
Scripture Proof: Leviticus 20:26; 1 Cor. 6:9-20
Application: Set up parameters in relationships, internet safeguards and accountability, daily prayer with God, seek his holiness.
5. Christians are transformed to be generous with their time and money (v.5)
Story: The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for money from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right even to lift his hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A soldier was astonished at his generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?” Alexander responded in royal fashion, “Copper coins would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.” –Sermon Illustration Website
Scripture proof: 1 Chronicles 29:14; Ps. 37:21; 1 Tim. 3:3
Application: Increase your giving at the church. Tithe from the money you make at work. Sacrifice your freedom to help out a friend or neighbor in need. Call people and ask how you can pray.
6. Christians are transformed to be courageous (v.6)
Story: We were made to be courageous. We were made to lead the way. We could be the generation that finally breaks the chains. We were made to be courageous. We were warriors on the front lines. Standing unafraid but now we’re watchers on the sidelines, while our families slip away. Where are you men of courage? You were made for so much more. Let the pounding of our hearts cry “We will serve the Lord” We were made to be courageous, and we’re taking back the fight. And we’re made to be courageous, and it starts with us tonight. The only way we will ever stand is on our knees with lifted hands. Lord, make us courageous. – Casting Crowns Lyrics
Scripture Proof: Joshua 1:9; Prov. 28:1; 2 Tim. 1:7;
Application: When was a time you were courageous? Stand for what is right at work and school. Confront your brothers and sisters in love when they are doing something wrong.
7. Christians are transformed to obey their authority (v.7)
Story: How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master! Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that’s exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn’t move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word. With tearful eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.” – Our Daily Bread
Scripture Proof: 1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:15; Rom. 13:1-7
Application: Why is it hard to obey authority? What are some ways we can overcome this difficulty? Humility, obeying our boss or teacher for God, showing respect.